Doug died as he lived. All who knew Doug McNair, and who know the conditions of his death confirm that statement. Doug lived the life of a soldier—a conscientious, energetic, intelligent soldier who gave himself completely and thoroughly to his country. He lived by a strict code which required him to devote his every effort to fulfill in its entirety the oath he took on graduation day 1928. No sacrifice was too great, no demand on his efforts or his time was unreasonable, or too exacting for his ability or bis endurance.
The citation for the Legion of Merit, awarded to him for his outstanding work as Chief of Staff, 77th Infantry Division, exemplifies his life of unselfish, wholehearted devotion to duty. Colonel McNair was cited, posthumously, for the Legion of Merit as follows: "Colonel Douglas C. McNair, 017217, United States Army Forces in the Pacific Ocean Area; for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services from 8 June 1943 to 6 August 1944; as Chief of Staff, 77th Infantry Division. Joining the organization at a time when many changes in command and staff personnel had Just been completed, Colonel McNair, with tireless enthusiasm, tact, and leadership, worked continuously to make the unit a well coordinated and smooth working team. His untiring zeal and extraordinary ability, his constant supervision of the many details preparatory to a landing were of incalculable value to the division in the operation on Guam and contributed in an extraordinary degree to the success of that operation and to the war efTort in the Pacific Ocean Area."
Doug was killed in action on Guam on 6 August 1944 when he personally stormed a native shack in which three Japanese were holding out. The citation for the Silver Star awarded for his gallantry in this action reads: "Colonel Douglas C. McNair, 017217, 77th Infantry Division, for gallantry in action, 6 August 1944. While making a reconnaissance for a new division command post, accompanied by an officer and an enlisted man, Colonel McNair enountered three Japanese soldiers in a native hut about three hundred yards from the main road. Cautiously approaching the entrance to the hut. Colonel McNair fired several times and directed the movements and fire of his companion. The Japanese in the hut returned the fire and during the exchange Colonel McNair was struck and killed. Colonel McNair's gallantry, courage and aggressive and unhesitating leadership was an inspiration to his companions and to the entire Division."
Major General A. D. Bruce, Commanding General, 77th Infantry Division, had this to say of Doug, who was his Chief of Staff: “In two wars I have seen many men who had courage, who worked until they were about to drop, who were professionally efficient, who knew how to handle troops, who had a sense of humor, but Doug had more than these qualifications. He had intellectual honesty and courage of his convictions far above the average. He not only was brave in the face of danger, but was morally brave. He was unusual in his lack of selfishness in order to promote the common good of the Division. Our Division and our country lost a great soldier."
Douglas Crevier McNair was born April 17, 1907, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Lieutenant (later Lieutenant General) Leslie J. and Clare McNair. He was graduated from the United States Military Academy on 9 June 1928 and began his military career as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He transferred to the Field Artillery 10 June 1930 and joined the 83d Field Artillery at Fort Benning, Georgia. His service was wide and varied and included the following: Student, Battery Officers’ Course, The Field Artillery School, 1932-33; Battery Executive, Battery Commander, Assistant Communication Officer, and Plans and Training Officer, 11th and 12th Field Artillery, Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii, 1934-36; instructor. Department of Gunnery and Department of Tactics and Communication; The Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1936-40; Battery Commander, 98th Field Artillery. Fort Lewis, Washington, 1940-42; Director, Weapons Department, Tank Destroyer School, Camp Hood, Texas, 1942; Commanding Officer, Tank Destroyer Training Group Number One, Headquarters 77th Infantry Division, Camp Hood, Texas, and Camp Hyder, Arizona. 1942-43; Chief of Staff, 77th Infantry Division, Camp Hyder, Arizona, Camp Pickett, Virginia, and in the Central Pacific Area, 1943 to 6 August 1944, when he was killed in action on Guam.
He was promoted to First Lieutenant, Field Artillery, 14 August 1934; Captain, Field Artillery, 9 June 1938; Major, 31 January 1941; Lieutenant Colonel, 1 February 1942; Colonel, 8 December 1942, in which grade he was serving at the time of his death.
He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously); Legion of Merit (posthumously); and Silver Star (posthumously). He was authorized to wear the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
He is survived by his widow, formerly Freda Louise Elliott, whom he married in Hawaii on 10 April 1935; by a daughter, Bonnie Clare, born 25 September 1943; and by his mother, Mrs. Leslie J. McNair.
If Doug's passing contributed in any small way to the peace of the world and to the furtherance of our United States, then his reaction most certainly would be, “It was my duty”— a true soldier all the way. We lost an honest friend and our country lost a fine man and a great soldier.
—ft. ft. M.